Knowing what we know and hearing what we hear and doing what we do and seeing what we see can anyone explain the point of Extinction Rebellion? As a movement it seems about as universally useful as the one I had in the bathroom this morning. Who does it serve? Well, it strikes me that the only people that Extinction Rebellion are really thinking about is themselves, otherwise they wouldn’t be spending an awful lot of time getting on everyone else’s tits. Don’t misconstrue me (misconstrue, what a nob) – I’m all for saving the planet – but to do that one must first eliminate stupidity and, much like the whole pouring fat on a fire equation, it is very hard to do that by simply applying yet more stupidity. And if Extinction Rebellion is one thing it’s stupid.
Perhaps their first and gravest mistake has been a total failure to understand an audience. You’re facing an uphill struggle if you advertise yourself as a non-violent demonstration movement and then deliberately piss off the very people that you should be looking towards for support. Remember that ER’s fundamental aim is to compel governments to change the way they are delivering their climate change policies – basically force them to do better stuff faster. They’re trying to do this by causing disruption, principally in London, and by standing in awkward places being twats. If you want to get at government then at least just focus on government (take a shit on the doormat of No 10 etc); but don’t stand on top of a train in early morning rush hour, in front of hundreds of tired, angry commuters and expect any sympathy. If you’re too careful someone will drag you down and cause a scene that does reward repeat viewings.
Their timing is also a little poorly plotted. Crime figures suggest that policing is at an all-time low and knife crime at an all-time high. Clever people have made a connection between the two; and a lot more people aren’t very happy about the imbalance therein. So a sack of middle class, school run, arran sweaters taking a couple of days of annual leave to staple themselves to a bike rack, knowing full well this will distract a hefty regiment of the law, are hardly going to make the general population all warm and gooey inside. Yesterday they occupied Oxford Circus, partly to highlight how polluted it is, but surely holding up thousands of cars in traffic jams only adds to that problem. A limp dick with a sociology degree, sitting on a ladder, should surely have noticed that beforehand.
Other cracks in the system? Yes. ER are really rather hypocritical. Does anyone else not see the flaw in a hundred and a half yummy mummies sitting outside the Google building and breast feeding their new born tots? You see, Elspeth, that’s another 150 mouths to feed you’ve just presented to our gasping planet and if there’s one big problem the world really needs to address its having too many people in it. Most mothers around the world are just trying to get on and survive, they don’t have time to get milky nipples on the off chance they’ll be on the 6 o’clock news. I also have issues with all these toddlers pottering around wearing tops that say ‘save the planet for me’. Given the information we all have I would say that it would be more responsible to think about the future before you have a child rather than have the child and then think about the problem.
By nature I can’t stand physical protests. I’d much rather just write about it. It’s warmer and there’s less risk of being pulled off a train and called a useless prick. Rarely do they work. Marching through London to protest against Brexit has done nothing and ER don’t seem to be changing a whole lot in a hurry. Sadly the only way protests really work is when they get properly physical – Poll Tax, Brixton etc – and that’s when governments start getting really uneasy, because they no longer hold all the cards. Like all rational people I loathe riots but I doubt that ER will go down that route anyway. Why? Because they are, generally speaking just a selfish as the rest of us: gillet clad, town house, bed-wetters with an overactive conscience who have realised too late that their lifestyle and their choices contribute just as much to the very problem they think they’re trying to solve. Jog on; it’s better for the environment.
G B Hewitt. 18.10.19
Ps – apparently our forthcoming Halloween will produce roughly 2,000 tonnes of throwaway plastic – I’d be happy to see a movement to ban Halloween but I’m buggered if I’m going to chain myself to a breast feeding baby just to get it.